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A few thoughts to get us started ...
#1 ... At some point this season, the Texas football team should start to look like a team that can compete for it all in 2017.
The question is if that point will come against Notre Dame on Sept. 4 ... against Oklahoma on Oct. 8 ... against TCU on Nov. 25?
The anticipation builds as to when that point will occur?
"We're talented enough now," Charlie Strong said Saturday. "Now, we just gotta get 'em coached up. No more excuses. We're young. But we're talented enough. So just get 'em coached up."
I asked Strong if he, his staff and players have finally settled in at Texas - considering a year ago his athletic director - Steve Patterson - was about to get fired? ... (And even though their daughters were freshman roommates at Texas last fall, Patterson hardly supported Strong - firing his communications and academic services directors without Strong's consent and refusing to give Strong's GAs a raise after Year 1.)
"You always think about programs, and the one sport that gives it momentum is football," Strong said Saturday. "So you need to have success in football, then it really drives the program. And not that we think our sport is better than any other sport.
"It's just that everyone - especially here - looks at how important football is here. So, once we start driving the vehicle and get it headed in the right direction, then a whole lot of things will change."
I think Charlie knows he's supported by current president Greg Fenves and AD Mike Perrin - after they flew to Tulsa to help close the deal on offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.
And I think Charlie totally gets that he's supported now - and wants to win big at Texas ... in large part, because of how much talent he and his staff have recruited to Austin.
#2 ... I'll finish off my Texas position rankings this way:
1 - RUNNING BACK - Stacked from top to bottom ... and don't sleep on Kirk Johnson.
2 - DEFENSIVE BACK - Deep and talented at corner. Help appears on the way at safety.
3 - RECEIVER - With four guys who can get behind the D (three of whom are 4.3 guys - J Burt, A Foreman and D Duvernay), I could make an argument WR could end up at No. 1 or No. 2 this season.
4 - QUARTERBACK - I believe Shane Buechele is special and will show that. Could be big year for Texas if he starts every game.
5 - OFFENSIVE LINE - Just like that, this group is talented and has depth as well as talented guards (Patrick Vahe and Kent Perkins) on either side of true freshman C Zach Shackelford.
6 - LINEBACKER - Should be a breakout year for Anthony Wheeler alongside mega-talented Malik Jefferson, who jokingly said last year Wheeler's nickname should be "Prison" - because of Wheeler's ripped physique.
7 - DEFENSIVE LINE - Talented but young behind Poona Ford, Paul Boyette and Chris Nelson. Freshman Jordan Elliott has already had some wow moments in practice.
8 - TIGHT END - Caleb Bluiett is an underrated presence on this football team, because of his intensity, toughness and "bad cop" leadership. Only reason TE this low is because of lack of depth and because of how much this offense plans to use Bluiett as a blocker and outlet receiver. UT needs Bluiett to stay healthy.
9 - SPECIAL TEAMS - Horns appear to have upgraded at kicker with the arrival of LSU grad transfer grad transfer Trent Domingue. Kris Boyd is the MVP of this unit. Special teams snafus have cost Texas at least three games the past two years (UCLA in 2014 ... Cal and Ok State in 2015). Charlie Strong can't afford any more.
#3 ... Oklahoma president David Boren and Texas president Greg Fenves form the Big 12's "Executive Committee" reporting to the Big 12 Board of Directors on possible expansion.
In other words, the two schools who formed the Big 12 back in 1996 are still in charge of realignment. And from what I was told Monday - it doesn't appear Texas or OU would be willing to extend the Big 12's current Grant of Rights or Tier 1&2 TV rights beyond the current expiration of 2025.
According to my sources, BYU and Cincinnati were the top two candidates for expansion right after the Big 12 Board of Directors announced on Aug. 19 that commissioner Bob Bowlsby had been charged with "actively evaluating" two to four expansion candidates.
But those same sources on Monday indicated the top two candidates may well be Houston and Cincinnati.The thought of those sources was that if the Big 12 was taking the TV-market-grabbing approach of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany - the Big 12 should grab Cincinnati, Houston, Colorado State and either Memphis or Central Florida.
However, to say there's a lack of consensus on the top two - let alone the top four - is an understatement. And for the first time since Aug. 19, I'm starting to think the Big 12 may go back to its original thought of no expansion.
Speaking of Boren and Fenves controlling realignment - put this in your back pocket: I'm hearing Cal president Janet Napolitano could possibly be appointed to a cabinet position if Hillary Clinton wins the White House.
Fenves, who earned his Master's and PhD in engineering at Cal and served more than 20 years on the Cal faculty and as chairman of Cal's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2002-07, would immediately become a top candidate, I'm told.
OK, so what's on your mind?
TO READ THE REST OF CHIP BROWN'S CHAT, INCLUDING THE POINTS PER GAME STERLIN GILBERT'S OFFENSE WILL SCORE ... PLAYERS WHO STOOD OUT IN UT'S OPEN PRACTICES ... AND MORE ON REALIGNMENT ... CLICK RIGHT HERE
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